There was only one logical outcome following the twelve hours long Grand Final – Italy were crowned the champions of the 2018 Annual Jubilee. Italian side scored 188 points from 40 international juries to take their first and well-deserved TISC title in what turned out to be largely convincing fashion. While managing to stay in touch for most of the contest, Norway’s Strangers was eventually eaten by Italian dust and finished full 27 points behind. United States tied Norway on points with Champion, but were placed behind in the final analysis since they received points from fewer different juries.
Italian victory marks the end of British Isles domination era, as Ireland and Great Britain have shared last 4 (and last 6/7) TISC titles between themselves. What some may have missed is that L’esercito del Selfie is in fact only the second non-English language song that went on to take the victory. First and the only other non-English entry that previously took the crown was Germany’s Lieder at 2014 Annual.
Highly anticipated 10th edition Jubilee Grand Final started very early, at 7 o’clock local time, which is by far the earliest ever TISC start. Decision for taking an early start was made largely due to European audience who make up most of the ratings.
As it was agreed in a special pre-contest decision, Brazilian hosting side was given once-off opportunity to open the voting proceedings. Norway received the very first maximum twelve points score, which was also their first TISC gold medal overall. Portugal and Indonesia took the rest of the early medals. By the end of the second votes, the Netherlands took command with 19 points, seven more than the nearest followers. The Dutch were represented once again by Kensington, who were making their third TISC appearance with Bridges. Netherlands remained in the lead for one more turn until the consistently scoring Italy took the lead following Estonia’s (4th) votes. At that point Italy became the only nation with points from each of the early juries, having scored 6+6+6+9.
Italy’s point scoring streak ended during the 5th votes, but they remained in the hotseat for one more turn, after which Algeria became a brand new leader with 28 points. First session was marked by very colorful and ever changing leaderboard. As much as 16 different nations have entered top 5 leaderboard box at various stage of the first 9 votes. Quite fittingly, the first session ended with a three-way tie between Italy, Norway and United States on 36 points. Algeria was a single point behind, while Poland rounded off the provisional top 5 with 30 points. 23 other participants were within 19 points of the three leaders.
First session ended with the first ever presentation of Antarctic votes. They did not count towards the official leaderboard as Antarctica was not an official participant, but they did receive plenty of interest nevertheless. Antarctica somehow obviously awarded the maximum to Brazil’s Bird With No Feet. Later on it was announced how Antarctica had the following considerations while putting together their votes:
- points for songs with “bird” in the title or in the chorus
- points for Gramado friends from the Team Challange
- points for users with animals as the picture of their user profiles
- and finally, a Ireland-Antarctica conspiracy that’s being hapenning for years.
Aside from opening the second session following an hour long break, Indian votes also opened up the leaderboard. Considerable points for both Italy and United States have now put them significantly in front of the rest of the field. United States have then taken the lead following the votes of their Canadian neighbours. Fast forward to the Finnish votes (#14), during which maximum was awarded to the United States, while the bronze went to Italy. United States now lied on 67 points, 8 ahead of their Italian rivals and seemingly massive 22 points ahead of Norway in 3rd place.
The leading duo continued to steadily hold their advantage during the votes that followed. Meanwhile, Portugal and Switzerland were both climbing in the background until they eventually reappreared in the top 5 following Algeria’s votes.
United States remained in the lead for quite some time, but by the end of the 18th Mexican votes their lead shrinked to a single point. Norway was still in the provisional 3rd place and were quite happily following the leader’s pace by keeping the distance to 15-20 points. Italy reclaimed the lead following Bulgarian (#19) votes, while Norway has considerably lowered the gap and were now only 8 points behind the Italian leaders. Colombian jury was next to go, however it did not seem like they fancied any of the top 3 entries… Until it was revealed that the maximum score is going to Norway who, as a result, claimed the leading position for the first time since the very first votes of the day. Lithuanian jury presented the final votes of the session after which once again we had a tie! Norway scored 6, Italy 10 – putting them both on 88 points. United States, now scoreless for 4 straight votes, were already 13 points of the pace. This was an early stage of USA’s bad patch, which lasted for 10 straight votes during which the Americans received mere 2 points in total. Argentina and Germany rounded off the provisional top 5 at the end of the mid-morning session. They were sitting 21 and 24 points behind the leading duo, respectively.
Third session of voting started after 90 minutes long break. This post-lunch session delivered Italy’s decisive move, which eventually lead to their victory. Following Norway’s brief leading period after the first two votes of the session, Italy once again tied them after Moldova’s votes. Now they were both on 104 points, while the closest pursuers (Switzerland, United States, Portugal) were languishing 25+ points behind. Italy retook the lead after receiving 12-point score from the British jury, Norway however stayed close by having won a bronze. This was incidentally Italy’s only maximum points score of the entire contest.
United States came out of hybernation in style, scoring the maximum points from the Greek jury. At this point Italy had 126 points, and was already 11 points ahead of Norway, while Portugal has just become the third entry over 100 points. If one set of votes could be dubbed as a decider, then that would Venezuelan set of votes. Venezuela fancied L’esercito del Selfie and awarded them 7 points. Norway meanwhile failed to get anything so the gap extended to relatively big 18 points.
Rest of the afternoon session brought more of the same: Italy were steadily scoring significant points while Norway did little to match that pace. By the end of the session Italy was already at 140 points, 23 ahead of Norway and 33 ahead of Portugal. Brazil and Germany rounded off the provisional top 5.
Evening session turned out to be mostly a formality, with Italy strongly holding their lead that was not really threatened at any point. First 2 votes of the session did not change much, but then Ireland awarded 6 points to Norway, while nothing to Italy. Gap was now down to 15 points and the crowd in the jam-packed Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic park already started hoping for a nail-biting finish… But Italy had other ideas, and after extending their lead to 26 points following New Zealand’s votes, everything was all but confirmed.
Final stages of the contest featured a battle for the remaining podium places between Norway, Brazil, United States, Portugal and Germany. United States were scoring steadily throughout the evening following the afternoon hybernation, and eventually that turned out to be more than enough to earn the third place on the podium behind Norway.
Germany’s Little Hollywood produced an outstanding late charge, scoring no less than 50 points in the final four sets of votes. But that was only enough for a 4th place finish on 148 points. Consistently scoring Brazilian hosts finished 5th on 130 points with Bird With No Feet. They were followed by Ireland (Feel It Again), Portugal (Trevo), Argentina (Naistumichiu), Poland (Without You) and France (J’en Suis La), who rounded off the top 10.
Final 2018 Annual results can be accessed here.
2018 Annual Jubilee featured the very first edition of the newly formed Team Challenge. As the name says, it’s a team competition in which ten teams with four members each battled out for the team honors. Every participating nation was randomly assigned to one of the teams during the live draw. Meanwhile, Brazil as the “odd duck” had a special role of power-play. Each team was given a total of four power-play turns spread between the initial and final reverse order stage. During the power-play turns every point scored by Brazil was assigned to the team currently holding the PP privilege. The team who ended the competition with most power-play points were awarded Brazil as the 5th team member and an additional bonus of 50 points.
Inaugural Team Challenge delivered plenty of action and received much interest from the audience. Team Brasilia (made of Algeria, Germany, Italy and New Zealand) stormed through the contest, especially during the second half, and took the very first team championship with 514 points. Team Foz do Iguacu (France, Russia, Sweden, United States) took silver with 440 points, while Team Sao Luis (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Great Britain, Tunisia) took bronze with 376 points. Sao Luis “won” Brazil by scoring most power-play points. This has allowed them to take a place on the podium, as they overtook Team Manaus (Finland, Ireland, Romania, Slovenia) thanks to the 50 points bonus. Team Ouro Preto (Croatia, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands) and Team Gramado (Antarctica, Bulgaria, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Poland) rounded off the top 6 and the diploma-winning territory.
Final Team Challenge results can be accessed here.